The Detroit Lions have a bunch of needs entering this month’s NFL draft. We’ve covered those positions a lot, including offensive line, defensive line, safety and linebacker.
But from a pure talent perspective, the place the Lions need to replenish the most is at wide receiver, where the franchise is coming off the retirement of one of the best receivers in league history, Calvin Johnson.
The Lions have signed Marvin Jones and Jeremy Kerley, but beyond Jones and Golden Tate, Detroit’s receiving corps is pretty questionable or unproven. TJ Jones hasn’t shown consistency through a full season. Corey Fuller hasn’t done much in his first three years in the NFL. Kerley’s production declined during his time with the Jets.
Upgrading the receiving corps minus Calvin Johnson has always been something Detroit has needed to do. It seemed more and more likely the Lions would go away from receiver in the first round, though, with one potential possibility. If Laquon Treadwell was sitting at No. 16, Detroit would have to consider the receiver with game-breaking ability.
In Mel Kiper’s latest mock draft, Treadwell was available at No. 16 and Kiper gave him to Detroit. Based on how that draft fell, Treadwell was a strong combination of need, value and best player available when the Lions were up.
Kiper did pass up on other potential Detroit targets to select Treadwell, including Clemson defensive end Shaq Lawson, Alabama defensive lineman Jarran Reed, offensive tackles Taylor Decker (Ohio State) and Germain Ifedi (Texas A&M) and linebacker Reggie Ragland (Alabama).
That’s how much Kiper values Treadwell’s skill set as a receiver.
Treadwell would be a good fit for Detroit. The Lions would be able to move Tate and Marvin Jones all over the field if they drafted Treadwell. He has good size (6-foot-2), is built well at 221 pounds and has the hands and vertical to win contested balls in the air.
How high is Treadwell’s ceiling? His comparison on NFL.com is DeAndre Hopkins, who is emerging as one of the best receivers in the league. Detroit has often said it will take more than one player to replace Johnson. Treadwell would be a large addition to that.
Treadwell has confidence there, too. He said at the combine he wouldn’t feel more pressure having to come in and replace Johnson because of the standard he holds himself to. If Kiper’s mock draft holds up, he’d have the chance to prove that.